Edible DNA

This week in school we are learning about DNA. My son is very visual and hands on so I knew that we would have to throw a project that involved 3-D representation in there somewhere. I found a bunch of ideas at Science Matters and considered some of them but in the end decided to go with the classic Marshmallow DNA model

Here are our supplies:

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Twizzlers
mini fruit flavor marshmallows
toothpicks

I separated the marshmallows into the four colors, put each in it’s bag and labeled each color as a base; yellow=T, green=G, orange=A and pink=C.

Since I wasn’t the one doing this project I didn’t get to take many pictures but the basic idea is that since base A always pairs with base T and base C always pairs with base G, you make pairs using those bases on toothpicks and then attach the pairs to the Twizzlers like rungs on a ladder and twist.

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Voila! DNA!

Then we went a step further and decided to build a protein using our base marshmallows and a amino acid codex. Since real proteins have a LOT of amino acids we made one up. We named it Oswaldin and decided it was in octopus ink. (who get’s the reference?)

I gave the boy a sequence of amino acids and he figured out the bases needed to make them (we changed T to U) and attached them three to a toothpick. Than we attached the amino acids in the correct order to make our protien.

Here’s what it looked like:

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It was a fun activity and it brought the point across to the boy better than a worksheet or any amount of reading could.

Plus it was delicious 😉

 

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